The Glorious Fourth of July 1870
94th Anniversary of our national independence. 33 days out, Lat. 20 degrees North, long 35 degrees West.
In the tropics, at last. 6 years more and we will have our hundredth Fourth etc. What a time there will be. We know pretty near what’s going on at home today. They have probably done a little heyday and will be hard at it next week. And it is hotter there than here. There will be a deal of beer , lemonade and cider drank today, to say nothing of what stronger. The boys will have the best time, and now summer will begin to wane soon. The leaves will fall before long, and then Winter, Winter far and wide again. And we have had a long hard tedious passage so far, but we have the trades now, The weather is delicious and Pilgarlic recovers his spirits. He looks back to 20, 25, 30 years ago to think what what fascination the Fourth had then. The “cannon’s opening roar”, the banners, the soldiers, all…
…gone, all gone. How hard it seemed when he went to sea, to think his Fourth should be taken away from him, and so he gives his men a holiday today. And my eye! Don’t they enjoy it! How they hop and caper about, while he, is quietly making a scale draft of the ship- thinking of Home Sweet Home. The first mess of green peas, a sweet fragrant matron comes in and throws her sun bonnet off, she has a tin pail full of the above, and now she quietly sits down and begins to shell them. How cool and fresh she looks, perhaps the children are there, perhaps over to Grandpas, perhaps she thinks of Pilgaric. He is not much use to her she says, “always off!” And by jingo(?) , we will have our green peas too. Yes, fresh mutton and a can green peas and fresh mutton for dinner today. Oh dear that’s all.
A wet sheet and a blowing gale
and a gale that follows fast
and fills the white and resting sail
and levels the gallant mast
There I was before the mast in the old Caspian. Nearly all our crew men from right around the Kennebec and a jolly set of young fellows we were. One exception was Bill Shortliff, and his name was not unbecoming, for he was almost a dwarf in height. But of his immense shoulder and arms He was an old man o’wars man. Had sailed in English and American national ships. He was a hideous old grouch but could tell a lively yarn once in awhile. And this Fourth puts me in a mood of one. And was that while cruising in the west indian seas in her majesty’s ship (“Amphion”?). She proved to be a Downeast schooner, loaded with notions. As they drew near enough to hail, but a strange sight greeted Them, the captain had lashed the tiller and was sitting on a chest. While all hands danced around-he playing the fiddle to a queer tune and had words like these:
“Oh my name is John Turner, I’m the captain
of a high prop schooner,
loaded with peas and beans and bone marrow,
to my all for _____ ale ale ra-”
Break her down boys- Oh, my name is John Turner,
…roared the master of the frigate. Through his trumpet, “oh my name is John Turner, I’m the captain and the owner- schooner ahoy! Break her down boys! Never mind him the Brittisher. Fourth of July don’t come everyday! Oh, my name is John Turner- crack went a shot through his rigging and not till then would he stop his fiddle.
-It was, the Fourth of July-
Bill Shortliff, he would have liked to ruled in that forecastle but we were too many for him and so in his sheer disgust, he went to studying navigation, bought a quadrant, and was mate of a ship before long. When he found he could not control us, he chose his favorites and learned them many things in seamanship that would never set among their accomplishments. It was he that learned me to call myself Pilgarlic.
Sunday- 10th July
39 days out
Lat. 90 degrees north
Long. 29 degrees west
This is tedious- not down to the equator yet! Well! We must grin and bear it. And make the best of it. Nothing to write about. We see a level way day – all countries. I have been busy on a draft of the ship over a week, finished it last night. The best one I ever made.
Yesterday the second mate got to fighting one of the sailors, but there was nobody killed. It is unpleasant though. I have got one old Englishman with an ulcerated sour leg, and it is an ugly looking thing. And I can’t do anything for it. it is in his blood. What a hard thing it is to be at sea with an illness you can’t understand, and I don’t know how to treat. Such is sea life.
My crew are great fellows to read and have got all the books out of the library. Nice books they
are too. Pilgarlic
I dreamed last night.. I saw my boys- Johnny most plainly- how he had grown- I thought he was big or Dan- with a fine fat face and great blue full eyes- My boys! Yes they soon will be great boys if nothing happens. And I realize it’s plainer now since that dream- the boys. I never thought of them as the boys before. How old some folks are getting.
I had another short dream- before- I have always been trying to find if there was some religion that suited me. I have read in everything I could get hold of the history of the ancients and moderns- their religion- of the Bible. The Talmud. Of Socrates. Vendeze. Confucius…
…and have not found it. Sometimes I go to sleep thinking of it. Whether Christ was religion incarnate, or rather was the offshoot of the principles of it. Christian religion so called, or did it originate with him? Certainly not the latter. The best, the greatest teacher, he surely was and so I went to sleep the other night, when I heard a voice- plain as ever I heard one- “What is religion?” “ _______ in the soul, through purification of the body”, was the answer to me clearly given. I woke, it was daylight. I never heard or saw, that explanation before, but I have thought a good deal of it since.
“Grace- ‘tis a charming sound, Harmonious to the ear.”
Old Captain Charles Mugford of Salem, Mass- Many years a sea captain, and East India merchant was passenger with me once. He was a fine old ______ man had been much in Europe and other parts of the world. He was in his old age suddenly made bankrupt through the ________ of the Rascally firm he was connected with. But he never complained, never said a word. It was good to talk with him. We often talked of religion. I asked him what life had learned him. He says it isn’t for men to know. What God’s ways are. He orders all things best, and he must be hard on us. Then will be a corner for a poor old man like me. That’s all I know.
Dear old gentleman, he has found it. He went last year.
I wish I had a good passenger even or two now. It would be so pleasant, but I don’t know. We are making such awful time. I guess it would be galling to passengers. I have to do nothing now, but kill time as best I may. Nobody to talk to, no wind. Here, I am Captain,
“ I am monarch of all I survey
My night there is none to dispute
From the center all round, to the sea
I am the lord of the foul and __1___”
“Oh solitude when are thy charms
that sages have seen thy face
better dwell in the midst of Almighty
Thou reign in this horrible place
– Alexander Selkirk
Yes! Here is a hermitage indeed
Lat. 7 degrees north
Long. 27 degrees west
44 days out
July 15th 1870
Anybody that has read (Colridges”?) Ancient Mariner will understand how we are situated. Nothing but calm, and we have not shot anything with our bow. Nothing of the sort, I have felt dreadfully along back at the horrible passage we are making, but it is no use- reading of the ships that have been there this month- I find others as bad off as myself. I never was here in July and was not prepared for any such weather, though I Supposed it would be bad enough. Doldrums indeed. The term is used to express the transition from one periodical, or steady wind to another. And a very
expressive word it is indeed. We passed through our rain belt two days ago, how it did pour for about 4 hours- we filled everything available with heaven water and set everybody to washing clothes, bodies, and all. It was such fun. I got my Manila man – Ilario(?) to washing for me, …
…gave him some white shirts to wash and he washed two of them with a vengeance. bindings and wristbands, how they did fly- but luckily they were old shirts. Lovey will have some new ones for me made on her sewing machine. Won’t she say sailors are a peaceable lot of fellows but they like to but things, they have patronized the ship chest considerable already, paying each for they have got money which is something that don’t often happen. I have one old Englishman who has been off duty, with an Ulcerated leg for a long time, I keep him sewing on any old clothes. It is a hard thing for an old man like him to go sea- I have a youngster from St. Louis, another from Buffalo,, another from Bangor, mostly Irish parents. It’s astonishing how fast the Irish children are taking the place of the American. No wonder. Dr. Barrows can explain it all- and that’s the way. The Catholics will get charge of our country if ever they do- and how can we say anything?
Lat. 7 degrees north
Long. 24 degrees west
July 18th, 1870-
“Here we are again.”Yes. Like the clown in a circus, here we are again. If anybody had told me on leaving Boston I should be here today, I would have taken it as an insult. It was not enough that after such a time as we had getting to the North East Trades that we should have them so light. After that all we had is calm for for nearly a week. Now here comes along a gale from South- dead ahead- with a heavy chopf of a sea, and the ship don’t hardly move- except it is to jump up and down and churn the water til it foams and boils as it does in a port. But That is not the most of it- we have a current setting us back 2 miles a day. something which is the hardest chance I have ever had that I know of. And there is no way of getting out of it. We must get through here. Between South America and Africa or else go back and…
…try it over again. So much for July.
Great walls of clouds like eternal piles of snow tower up all around us and seem to say- “we have hammered you in. You can’t get through here.” When the sun shines through them, she seems to be shining through a tunnel at us. No birds- no fish- nothing but this everlasting ocean. I can’t read. I can’t write. I can’t do anything, but to say to myself, what an insignificant miserable pu___ you are in the hands of the Almighty God.
And this too with a ship like The Franklin- deep loaded with ice to _____!
But It’s all for the best.
“Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
the clouds ye so much dread,
Are big with mercy and shall break,
In blessings on your head.”
Yes, this wait and all this delay is no doubt for some wise purpose- perhaps some awful pestilence….
…raging in Batavia. Perhaps Temble’s destructives gales are raging off Cape Good Hope in our track!! Who knows?Blind unbelief is here to err,
and scan His works in vain,God is his own interpreter, and the will make it plain.
So watch and wait, we. It is all right, no doubt.
Lano has been teasing the Steward for sugar. Not getting any, he must needs steal it. For we have had a case of arbitration today.. It puts me in mind of him and the sugar bowl at home, the cabin boy his so, we can’t get at any truth in any case. I don’t believe in whipping, but I believe that boy will have to have a good flogging
I suppose they are about through haying in Maine now. I wonder if they would like to have Pil there. I suppose it will be many years before ever he works at haying again. But ploughing, he will do considerable at in the meantime.
Here I sit, pouring over everything that tells of winds, of currents, of seas- of this vast world of water around us- trying to solve some way of getting out of this ______, but it’s no use- I jump up and run on deck, walk on over thou old plank I have already half worn out ‘till my feet smart, get a kink in my neck looking up at the sails and water in my eyes trying to look in the great veil that hangs ‘round us. It is dreadful trying to the eyes, this sea life. The glow of the water, the heat of the sun- soon wears them
out. The use of the spyglass, the Quadrant, and the other instruments help them along fast. And soon the sailor and navigator, for he wants glasses and lucky if he is not half blind. I wish I had got glasses this time. The hardest part is navigating among isles and rocks in the night, when the straining to see the way is the most trying of all- but such is life, as master of a ship and it is very soon worn out, and
little paid for.
Two barks and a brig in company with us today. They don’t carry sail so hard as we do. Very few ships can carry sail as The Franklin can- every time we have had ships in sight at noon, they have been in the horizon just where we brought the horizon down at 12 o’clock.
It brings them out clear and plain and thereby have a tale. When the ship “Elvira”
belonging to W.F. Mozes of Boston was lost in the Bay of Bengal about 8 years, all hands went down but one poor fellow- who managed to cling to a broken mast for two or three days. After the storm was over, a dutch barge came sailing along- it was noon. The captain paraded to quarter deck with his quadrant…
…having adjusted it, he put it to his eye and proceeded to shade the Sun’s reflected image down to the horizon. But there was something there besides water. He rubbed the the glasses and looked again, still there it was. He looked with his naked eye, nothing to be seen- he looked with his quadrant again, there it was. He called hands for his spyglass, he looked and Lo! Something like a spar Up with your wheel roared he! German- and away went the little bark for the broken mast. They found that
man lashed to the spar. Al life apparently gone- but they brought him to. And he of all that crew of that noble ship was thus saved to tell the sad tale of her loss.
‘Tis strange how Providence provides ways and means for His purposes.
This journal- or manuscript will be quite plethoric by the time it reaches my wife-if this luck holds on- but we made it 21 miles in the last 24 hours whereas for a number of previous ones- we only made 10 or so, we lost ground- so we go. Hoping on, Hoping ever. I think our luck will change for the better soon- though for this passage I have been like the Old woman’s changes of wind that George McKenney used to tell about. He said the every time the wind it came right out North. How the sayings of our old acquaintances will come up to us- then nearer, is a circumstance occurs to
me hardly- but finds it’s comfort in some old saying of somebody I knew years ago.
Looking over Beechers collections of Hymns the other night, I suddenly came upon an old favorite that I had forgotten. 2 years ago, all at once, I was away, in the valley of the Kennebec-soft southerly breezes reached in at the open window bringing the odor of the Lilac and violet. My newly starched linen collar was was ‘round my neck. I was crossing the river. The books of Louden Hillers were wending their way to church, father and Mr. Chaney walked side by side, while sister and I fell in with the children from the hill. Then we were in the little chapel- what wonderful music- theorchestra.
“ Hark! Hark! The notes of Joy
Roll o’er the heavenly plains,
and seraphs find empty
for their sublimes strains
some never delight in Heaven is known
loud sound the harp around the throne
“fighting out on this line is s a dull music and it is peaceable kind of warfare- Speaking or rather writing of this line puts me in mind of a little story, as Abraham used to say.When I was on board the Liverpool liner, James Wright, “We were bound home, one ship with many Irish immigrants on board.The captain had been using his spyglass one day-and going down to dinner, with the Mate- left the ice mate in charge. Mr. Miller took the object glass out of the telescope and placed a hair inside of
it, then replaced it and looked long and intently at the horizon. Now, we were a long time out and there was great inquiry among the Paddies when we should see the land, and they were watching the officers constantly for information. A hundred eyes were on the sea mate, he laid the glass down and beckoned and one Mickey to come up on the poop, this was a great favor, for no steerage passenger was allowed there.
“Now Micky- look through the glass.” It was comical to see him look- half in fear, half in curiosity. “What do you see?” says he- “Mr M- I don’t no-ahh I think I see a great line.” That’s it says Mr. M- “Faith- well what is it?” says mate. Hush- don’t say anything, it is the line of America.” A man be ______ Hoorah! Is it now! . Oh, Honeys, I’ve seen the line, the line of America. And such a shout! And visions of silver and gold laying in the streets waiting to be picked up. Of Fathers and brothers gone before flew over their tired minds in a jiffy. The _____ pound up the hatchways in swarms. Never were poor people so sucked in before. They had heard of the “Line”
and of “America” and they thought, somehow or other, that they were the same- and when some Mickey saw the hair magnified in the glass, his wonder knew no bounds, but when he was told it was the line, the line of America, his joy knew no bounds- Ah, Me! that was many….
…many years ago, but I remember is it’s plain as though ‘twas yesterday. And so we look for the “line” and have been for many a weary day- 50 days and we shant see it. But time will do it, it is only a question of time.
If this don’t try one’s Mettle, I don’t know what does. When one realizes that days and fortunes hang by his decisions, for east, or for west. It makes him feel anxious. We have decided to for the west today, and have just tacked ship- one feels better after he does something. For Better, for Worse it is excitement to tack Ship, to see how beautifully the machine works, every body has a place. It is beautifully designed in poetry, in Falconer’s shipwreck as ready all the other evolutions on
And she heads up too, yes, she is going WSW’s now. That is a clincher. Couldn’t go East any longer anyhow, so I tacked just in time- had 48 minutes current, setting us back today.
June 21st, 1870
Latitude- 4 ½ degrees north of Equator
Last night I saw the last of the North Star 5 degrees north. It is not often we can see her so far from home as that. She is supposed to be right over the North Pole and that is 90 degrees 90 degrees from the line. we could see her from thence if it was not for the clouds in the horizon. The last voyage I was in the Fearless as mate. We had a large number of passengers. Among the west was a shipmaster Capt. Williams- everybody was anxious to see the signs of our own hemisphere- and nothing was
looked more forward to than the North Star. The question rose one day at dinner when we should see it. Capt.Herman’s at head of the table, not for some time after we had crossed the line. Que the Capt. Williams-” I have seen in 3 degrees South!” That was a stunner! We did not see until more than 0 degrees North.
“Answer me, answer me,
Burning Stars of Night.”
And when the sun was sinking in the sea, he seized his harp which he did at times could strum and strike, albeit, with untaught melody.
“When he deemed no strange ear was listening,
and now o’er it his fingers he did fling,
and tuned his farewell in the dim twilight
while flew the vessel on her snowy wing,
and fleeting shores receded from his sight,
thus to the elements he found his last goodnight
Adieu! Adieu! My native shore,
Fades o’er the waters blue
The night winds sigh the breakers now
And Shrieks the wild sea new
Yon Sun that sets upon the lea
We follow in his flight
Farewell awhile to him and thee,
My native land good night.
…over and guard my home. I am going far away from you. Strange scenes- foreign lands will greet me before I see you again. Often before, I have sailed far away- and kind providence led me back to you again- so may I come back again and oh a better man than I have ever been. But if not, tell them who there watched over. My thoughts are ever for them, and hope for them.
I set in my room last evening and tuned my guitar- all quiet and dark. I sang over to myself my old songs and thus I sang, I thought of those who have sailed and sung with me. Where have they gone? Some of them sing a nobler song and their lyrics are golden now. And I thought my voice waivered and trembled sometimes- as it did not used to. “yes, Pilgarlic, you are growing old, you will give your harp to younger and better hands soon. You have not made very good use of it” I know it, but it has helped me through many a weary hour, and that was all I cared for.
July PP.25- (labeled this date but I’m not sure it fits)
Sunday, 24th of July 1870
53 days out. Not to the Equator Yet! It seems as though the Almighty had set his seal against our not getting there. But it’s alright. I give up. Kicking against the pricks long ago. Fourteen days we have been beating up against this monsoon– and please God, will beat it at last. It’s dreadful tedious and lonely- but there are lots of vessels in the same fix. They pass and re-pass us every day- and we have got familiar with them now. If I was alone- I should feel as though it was my fault and that would
be too bad. “We eat out Plum Duff in silence- no jokes cracked- no body to crack them. The steward got all the plums on one side today it puts one in mind of the English Captain who was so stingy that he did not want his mate to have any raisins, so he told the steward to put all the plums on one side and set that side next to him at dinner. The captain helped himself and got all the raisins, the mate cut off the other side and got none. __1____ it and questioning the steward, found out the reason, so he told the steward to put the raisin side next to him next time. The captain noticed it and pretending to be looking at the dish, turned it around , saying to the mate- “That is nice cooking.”
“I gave , two pound, ten and sixteen pence for the set in Liverpool. “ah!” says the mate suddenly becoming interested in the ware, and coolly turning it back again- said “it was not clear it is worth the money” – and got his raisins.
This is the time of garden _____ and all the delicious things we get served up by our
housewives at home, let them long for the sea who will- but they will, miss their garden in summer.
“Precious little you ever had to do with a garden, Pil. Why you don’t know a tomato
from a potato till you taste it.”
That’s true, I have been many years away from all gardens, I sow beside all
waters”, and that ain’t all- I haved on salt food now for 25 years. I am a perfect pickle and it will take more years than there is left to soak me out.
A life on the ocean wave
and a home on the rolling deep
where the scattered waters rave
with the winds their revels keep and all
that you know
Monday- 25th, July 1870
“Fortune favors the Brave.” The clouds break- the wind veers, We made 142 miles in the last 24 hours and are stretching away to the SW(SouthWest). The wall of clouds that has so long defied us, Softens in long vistas to our eager view. In great heavenly radius they spread over us, and seem to say “here” Oh ye of little faith.” The short sharp sea that snarled and lunged at us, has given way to a long majestic swell that rolls up to our ships noble prow and loves her deck with a thorough and tropic kiss. But with it has changed the tide, the current that has swept us to the NE (NorthEast) for two miles an hour within the last 10 days, has changed as suddenly to SW within last day- and so that- nasty current we complained so about was our salvation after all, by giving us enough room to drift to the west and still clear the coast of South America. Man knows little what is best for him after all, we get a
magnificent air with all this. It is so invigorating, it gets everybody up- we build ___ttes in it, make noble….
Noble ______, almost see them ______ out. See our darlings enjoying every luxury- and jope springs high, the “bane of every fear and last deserter of the Brave”
The beautiful Stormy Petrel, or mother Clary’s chickens have come back and flutter in our wake. flocks of flying fish skim far away over the sea. Though the sun shines bright and we are within 1-½ degrees of the Equator. Still it is comfortable sleeping under a blanket. The sea has a dark blue color, curling in small crisp laughing waves all over the big seas and flashing phosphorus all night and so we go.
Ships our cradles, decks our pillows,
lulled by winds, and rocked on billows
gayly bound me over the tide
Hope our anchor, Heaven our guide
aus the wild life in tumult still to range
from toil to rest, and joy in every change.
July 26th, 1870
50 Miles North of the Equator. I get up this morning at 4 o’clock and the moon was just rising from a bank of cumulus clouds. She was horned and almost embraced in her two extremes, the planet Jupiter, which was hurrying after Venus, and very near her, Venus rising out of the sea, has been a noted subject for artists, but they never painted Jupiter hard after her., or Cynthia ready to catch them both. It would be a good one if they did. I wonder how they would do it Jupiter. I suppose it would be through throwing thunderbolts at pale Dame Cynthia, an old woman looking after the blushing young Venus. I think John Saxe would be just the fellow to write a poem about it. I have just been reading through…
… his poems, and they are amusing enough- The volume I have was loaned me by my dear little daughter Mary- a present from her grandfather, and it is sensible to give a child a book like that. As she grows up it will be valuable, and not have to be laid aside with her other toys.
I have just the beautiful poems of Wordsworth. How sweet they are. And the little ___ I loved
so a child. “ Drink pretty creature, Drink”
“We are seven- Goody Blake and Hany. I find are his own, We should be called the children
poets. I have also been reading Byron- what a difference- Byron strikes all the grand wild chords of our nature, fills them with romance and fire. lets us to asking,vast unknown questions, Woodsworth leads us back to the books, the ship, the hearth, the dear ones gone away and all…
… we loved in youth. I have read during those tedious hours Walter Scott’s -Rob Roy- It’s one of his best, but I don’t like novels so well as I used to and so, I have turned back to my history of Charles Fifths of Spain. I am also reading, “Christ, the Light of the World”, carefully with the bible, taking pains to let nothing escape me. If only I could say I believe it all. Sometimes there is something flashes out of the scriptures, and through my souls, and before I can think, it is gone, and I feel like one trying to think of some familiar name, and just as it on his tongue, and it is gone. Is this the Light? and does it flash upon me just to leave me in darkness again? Take simple Christ, founder of the Christian Religion- the best the greatest that ever lived, believe in the miracles as handed down through so many torturous ages and it is all plain- but make him God. The word incarnation, and the rest then they would have us, and it is all dark to me.
We are in the South Atlantic at last, having crossed the Equator at 10 o’clock last night. 55 days and 10 hours from Boston. We have sailed 4448 miles at the rate of 44.06 miles per day, while last year we were( in the same ship) 22 days sailed at the rate of 174.4 miles per day. Some difference!! We have sailed against 1000 miles of current this year, while we had none last.And now we are stretching away for the Brazilian coast, and hope to be past it soon. The Southern Stars come out bright now. The great star constellation, The Centaur also Argo Navis, are our
companions now. One of our sailors caught in nice mess of fish today. Yesterday we saw our first school of porpoise for a long time. They acted just like young pigs, laying still on the water and then starting off with a snort as though somebody was after them. We have not seen many this voyage. I went on deck in the middle watch, as is my custom, and lo’ a beautiful meteor flashed away across the northern sky. It was visible the longest.
… of any I ever saw. It is an old sailor’s yarn that when you see one of them, if you wish for something during the flashing of one, you will get your wish. So I wished first that my darlings were all well, then that we might have a quick passage, and I got through it before the meteor died. We shall see how it turns out. Yesterday evening a little English Bark came up with us and passed us like a shot.
We are now crossing the SE trade wind belt of the South Atlantic. We can hardly fetch by the coast of Brazil. There is such a current sweeping us now. When we were in the NE current, and trying to get west a few days. We thought it was hard. Would Have wished headlong to the west. But there was a wiser One than me, guiding us right, and thus it is ever with us mortals.
Blind unbelief is soon to ’err
And scan His work in vain
God is his own interpreter
And He will make it plain
Annex- I show a pen and ink sketch of our track. The arrows go with the current, and show our great Equatorial battlefield.